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May 31, 2004

The Audible Philosopher

Via David H. at Orange Philosophy. David reports on an exciting initiative: a free audio library of classic philosophical texts.

From the project's temporary homepage:

This site is dedicated to hosting public domain readings of public domain philosophical classics. The .mp3 files in our library are licensed under the Academic Free License v. 2.0, and may be copied, distributed and edited with minimal restrictions.

The primary motivation of the project is to create a pedagogical supplement and improve the comprehensibility of the great books of philosophy. Our broader goals are described in our Manifesto. To expand our library, you only need a computer, microphone and some free software. Help us grow. To use our resources in your class, give your students our URL or link to the .mp3 files directly.

This is a great idea.


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Thanks for the link, Lindsay. (MarkSteen here at OrangePhilosophy)
email Dave about the software and adding to the library. You don't have to do Hume of course. I'm thinking about doing Reid. We are thinking, however, about limiting to older and more difficult texts, but open to almost anything of philosophical import (that's open domain). It does sound like a great idea, and I have to hand it to Dave and Dan (I had nothing to do with it).

When Napster first debuted, I entered "Friedrich Nietzsche" just to see what I'd get. A few mp3's just had Nietzsche's name on the label despite having no relation with Nietzsche, and a few were his piano compositions. But the funkiest things I found were 4 mp3's totaling 3 hours, of Charlton Heston doing a reading about Nietzsche. If memory serves, he said at the beginning it was a "Introduction to the Philosopher's Series," and that the reading was written up by R. J. Hollingdale. From the audio quality, it sounded like it was transfered from cassette - a very old cassette. It would be really spiffy if this new project were to find higher quality recordings of this reading. There was something wonderfully surreal about having Moses read Hollingdale on Nietzsche. And he has a nice voice for the task.

I found the Heston Nietzsche readings as well. Kind of funny. It's unfortunate that the P2P services still have the best philosophical audio. However do others find that the written world doesn't always translate to spoken world well? I have a hard time listening to it. On the other hand I truly enjoy listening to Dreyfus' Heidegger lectures which are up at Berkeley along with his literature class on existentialism. A few of the lectures are always in my iPod whereas most other MP3s related to philosophy go unheard.

I just listened to this mp3 on nietzsche and found it to be mostly conservative christian propoganda. much of it was factual but much of it was also opinion. i would regard this as not a philosophical source of learning but rather a political source.

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